ACF Nationals discussion

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ACF Nationals discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:01 pm

Congratulations to Chicago on their three-peat. They were every inch the champion and in the end neither Stanford nor we could hang with them.

Overall I was mostly satisfied with the content of the tournament. I thought the physics was a little weak in places, and several questions had either ambiguous leadins or near-hoses, but for the most part the questions were pretty good. I can't think of any questions I had an outright problem with, although I think that bonuses that are basically designed never to give anyone 30 points are a bad idea. Also, there were some rounds where I thought the bonus distribution was somewhat unbalanced in difficulty. I think content-wise this was a decent Nationals set, although I thought last year's was better.

However, one thing I surely am not satisfied with at all, and in fact that I am unbelievably fucking angry about, was the abominable logistics of this tournament. I've now attended three straight Matt Weiner-directed events and every one of them was a bigger disaster than the previous one. The decision to hold ACF Nationals over two days was one that I had disagreed with initially, but I figured that with rounds starting at 9 on Saturday and Sunday, and with a maximum of 6 rounds to play on Sunday, there should have been no trouble getting out by 1, which was the advertised finish time. Instead, on Saturday, we showed up at 8:45 (the stated arrival time demanded by the TD!) and had to wait until, I shit you not, 10:30 to get started. I have no fucking clue what possible unforeseen circumstances could have prevented us from starting the tournament until an hour and a half after the purported start time. I've heard all sorts of bullshit about unprinted schedules and other retarded shit, and let me tell you, I've run 24-team tournaments before and it's not that hard to get this shit done on time. You had all previous fucking night to take care of this and as far as I know, Donald Taylor wasn't editing this set, so I see no reason why he couldn't have covered this on Friday night. On top of this, we showed up on Sunday only to be unable to start our match against Illinois because we didn't have a buzzer system with enough working buzzers. If you know that buzzers are a problem, why the fuck is this not set up the night beforehand?! There is no way that matches between teams contending for the title should be delayed or compromised in any way because of buzzer system issues. This was known and needed to be taken care of before the teams showed up to play; instead, we sat around for an hour before this was taken care of. As a result of massive fucking incompetence on the part of Matt Weiner, the WUSTL staff, and fuck knows who else, I wasn't able to get out of the building until 2:20, with the result that I ended up missing my flight out of STL. Now, I'm out $175 for a replacement ticket to San Diego and I'll be lucky if I even get there tonight.

Basically, from a logistic standpoint this tournament was a huge clusterfuck and as I've pointed out, the common link in all these clusterfucks is Matt. Say what you will about NAQT's protest procedures or whatever, but one thing where I'll give them a ton of credit is their logistics. It's certainly ironic that NAQT's biggest critic and someone who has consistently berated others for their organizational mistakes on this board is now responsible for what is arguably the worst-run ACF Nationals of the last 5 years, and without question the worst-run one that I've ever attended. I'll go on record now publicly as an ACF member to state my complete and total opposition to Matt directing any more ACF tournaments; every one of these disasters makes us look horrible and I can no longer in good conscience continue putting our collective reputation in the hands of someone who, despite being given multiple opportunities to get it right, has produced one catastrophe after another.

I realize that I sound pretty fucking mad about all this, and in truth, I'm probably even madder that I sound. We're talking white hot rage here that required medication with alcohol before I could bring myself to sit down and express it in words. But then, as someone who has spent a fair bit of money, time, and effort traveling to various tournament that Matt's been associated with, most recently FICHTE and ACF Nationals, I think I have a good reason to be upset with the current state of things. These are issues that need to be addressed by ACF collectively and by Matt specifically, and until that happens in a public way, we're going to look worse and worse after every tournament we run.

That's all. I'll make some comments about the questions later, perhaps when I GET OUT OF THIS FUCKING AIRPORT AND FINALLY GET HOME.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by QuizBowlRonin » Sun Apr 26, 2009 8:53 pm

I speak only for myself (not for ACF or for WashU).
grapesmoker wrote:Instead, on Saturday, we showed up at 8:45 (the stated arrival time demanded by the TD!) and had to wait until, I shit you not, 10:30 to get started. I have no fucking clue what possible unforeseen circumstances could have prevented us from starting the tournament until an hour and a half after the purported start time. I've heard all sorts of bullshit about unprinted schedules and other retarded shit, and let me tell you, I've run 24-team tournaments before and it's not that hard to get this shit done on time. You had all previous fucking night to take care of this and as far as I know, Donald Taylor wasn't editing this set, so I see no reason why he couldn't have covered this on Friday night.
One team (McMaster) dropped without telling us, making the old schedules useless. New schedules could not be printed out on site for technical reasons until much later. The plan to e-mail packets to the rooms was a failure. Each one of these issues could and should have been taken care of with foresight - backup schedules should have been printed, and mass flash drives should have been available, et cetera.
On top of this, we showed up on Sunday only to be unable to start our match against Illinois because we didn't have a buzzer system with enough working buzzers. If you know that buzzers are a problem, why the fuck is this not set up the night beforehand?! There is no way that matches between teams contending for the title should be delayed or compromised in any way because of buzzer system issues. This was known and needed to be taken care of before the teams showed up to play; instead, we sat around for an hour before this was taken care of. As a result of massive fucking incompetence on the part of Matt Weiner, the WUSTL staff, and fuck knows who else, I wasn't able to get out of the building until 2:20, with the result that I ended up missing my flight out of STL. Now, I'm out $175 for a replacement ticket to San Diego and I'll be lucky if I even get there tonight.
In my opinion, a critical mistake was made assigning playoff rooms without knowing where *fully* functional buzzers were located. The tournament in general had severe issues not only with the lack of buzzers (I moderated slap bowl at a National Tournament for the whole of Saturday), but also with the buzzers which in many cases were not fully functional (i.e. only 5 out of 8 buzzers work). In addition, a team or even perhaps teams took their buzzer systems after the end of rounds Saturday, complicating the situation on Sunday. The delay was excessive because buzzers could not be switched out because rooms with working buzzers had already started reading their rounds, requiring them to finish before an equipment change could take place. In any case, I believe the decision to assign the top and middle bracket in a single building each was the only criteria determining playoff room assignment.

These issues however are completely separate from ensuring that the top brackets have the best available equipment for their playoff rounds. Again, with an ounce of foresight many if not all of these issues could and should have been taken care of.

At the same time, we also should consider that even outside of the top bracket, quiz bowl should not be played with defective buzzers or without buzzers at all, in any bracket, especially at a national competition. This is a disgrace not only for ACF, but also the entire quiz bowl community, and we should discuss how to avoid this in the future.

Jerry, I will send you a check for $175.
These are issues that need to be addressed by ACF collectively and by Matt specifically, and until that happens in a public way, we're going to look worse and worse after every tournament we run.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by cdcarter » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:18 pm

QuizBowlRonin wrote: Not always is it true that the best editors are the best at organizing tournaments. The roles of editor and tournament logistics director for nationals should be therefore be separated.
I agree with this 100%. Tournaments like Nationals should have a dedicated onsite director who isn't an editor.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:34 pm

QuizBowlRonin wrote:One team (McMaster) dropped without telling us, making the old schedules useless. New schedules could not be printed out on site for technical reasons until much later. The plan to e-mail packets to the rooms was a failure. Each one of these issues could and should have been taken care of with foresight - backup schedules should have been printed, and mass flash drives should have been available, et cetera.
Dude, it doesn't take a genius to predict these things. McMaster is a bunch of dolts for dropping out without notifying anyone, but you gotta expect these things. Seriously, how hard is it to put together contingent schedules? I'm pretty sure a 12-game round-robin can be constructed by most people without the aim of the internet in about 10 minutes; you can find these schedules online anywhere. I've also distributed questions to rooms with flash drives, and I assure you it takes at most 10 minutes to do, maybe 15 if you have to send a runner to another building.
In my opinion, a critical mistake was made assigning playoff rooms without knowing where *fully* functional buzzers were located. The tournament in general had severe issues not only with the lack of buzzers (I moderated slap bowl at a National Tournament for the whole of Saturday), but also with the buzzers which in many cases were not fully functional (i.e. only 5 out of 8 buzzers work). In addition, a team or even perhaps teams took their buzzer systems after the end of rounds Saturday, complicating the situation on Sunday. The delay was excessive because buzzers could not be switched out because rooms with working buzzers had already started reading their rounds, requiring them to finish before an equipment change could take place. In any case, I believe the decision to assign the top and middle bracket in a single building each was the only criteria determining playoff room assignment.
Hey, that's why I suggested that these things need to be taken care of before the games start, especially when you have a whole extra night to do it in.
Jerry, I will send you a check for $175.
I don't think you specifically owe me $175, unless you were somehow responsible for these things. As far as I can tell, the responsible person here is the tournament director. And while I'm upset about losing money, I'm more upset by the fact that this situation took place at a national tournament.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:35 pm

I'm trying to think if this is the most logistically challenged tournament I have ever attended. While I'm not 100% sure yet, I think it might be. Given the fact that I have attended two WITs, a BlaST, and a BoB, this is not a good thing. But there is no use in beating a horse that Jerry has already killed.

Apart from logistics, I mostly enjoyed playing this tournament. I think the questions were mostly well written and, looking at the results, did a good job separating and ranking the teams (at least in the playoffs, tiebreakers, and finals). While there are many allegations that it was too difficult, I did not notice such a problem in the history. The only issue seemed to be that a lot of the World History tossups were on things that seemed entirely uncanonical, though much of it seemed objectively important. Except for that tossup about some rebellion of African slaves against the Abbasid caliphate, which seemed neither.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:37 pm

One team (McMaster) dropped without telling us
If only one team dropped ,then just put together a scab team. I'd rather have to play one match against four random WUSTL players/students impressed by said players then wait around a hour and a half. Of course, this is moot since contingency schedules for a 23- team event should have been done; hell, you could probably swipe a schedule off Charter's website.
EDIT: abbreviation issue.
Last edited by at your pleasure on Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by QuizBowlRonin » Sun Apr 26, 2009 9:46 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Dude, it doesn't take a genius to predict these things. McMaster is a bunch of dolts for dropping out without notifying anyone, but you gotta expect these things. Seriously, how hard is it to put together contingent schedules? I'm pretty sure a 12-game round-robin can be constructed by most people without the aim of the internet in about 10 minutes; you can find these schedules online anywhere. I've also distributed questions to rooms with flash drives, and I assure you it takes at most 10 minutes to do, maybe 15 if you have to send a runner to another building.
I don't think I ever disagreed.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:12 pm

To be brief, I agree wholeheartedly with the logistics issues.

As for the questions, they were not great, but they were not bad. My teammate Asaf pointed out two factual errors in two questions, "fields" and "Hamiltonian cycle," which I'm sure he'll elaborate on when the set is released and he can verify that there were, in fact, problems. There was definitely an error in "The Miraculous Mandarin" claiming that it was by Dvorak. That is not acceptable.

A general criticism with the tossups: I heard a lot of clues, sometimes hypothetical, that could apply to such a huge number of answers as to be useless. "It may have been inspired by Michelangelo's work in the Sistine Chapel" was one from, I believe, Finals 2, that was actually the first line of the question IIRC. "can be used to probe the mechanisms of enzyme function" showed up in that packet as well. This kind of thing is pure space-wasting verbiage, since it's not specific enough even to narrow down or give context to clues already presented. There were a few tossups that I thought were just bad ideas, like Concierto de Aranjuez and attitude and invisibility. Ones I liked in particular were Lyric Pieces, caspases, Of Love and Other Demons, Ignatius J. Reilly, and piano concerti of Rachmaninoff.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by answerguy » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:17 pm

Anti-Climacus wrote:
One team (McMaster) dropped without telling us
If only one team dropped ,then just put together a scab team. I'd rather have to play one match against four random WUSTL players/students impressed by said players then wait around a hour and a half. Of course, this is moot since contingency schedules for a 23- team event should have been done; hell, you could probably swipe a schedule off Charter's website.
EDIT: abbreviation issue.
I can't speak for WUSTL but for a big event this is easier said than done. We had the same issue with TRASHionals a week earlier. Although in our case it wasn't McMaster that bailed.

We had a field of 32 for TRASH and I thought we could piece together a 32nd team of people. Not only did that not happen (several teams showed up short, and we had just enough staff) but another team failed to show up. If you know which team isn't showing up you can do the contingent schedule thing, but printing dozens of copies in the fly is also not easy.

Not that there are corresponding excuses for everything that apparently happened at this tournament, but we had buzzer and schedule and no-show issues too.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Lemma » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:31 pm

The Ignatius J. Reilly tossup was hands down my favourite buzz. I haven't read that book since 7th grade, but he's not a character you forget very easily.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by marnold » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:42 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Lemma wrote:The Ignatius J. Reilly tossup was hands down my favourite buzz. I haven't read that book since 7th grade, but he's not a character you forget very easily.
Dude, there were some good tossups today too!
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:54 pm

I am curious as to what the factual error in the Hamiltonian Cycle question was.

Edit:

I'm not entirely sure the fully edited version of the tossup made it into the packet. I appear to not have that version of the question on me, but Evan Nagler should have it.

The older version (which potentially made it into the packet) looked like this:
Fleischner's theorem states that the square of a two-connected graph has one of these, and Chvatal conjectured in 1973 that every t-tough graph has one of these for some integer t. Every graph with more than three vertices and a degree greater than half the number of vertices has one of these, a result known as Dirac's theorem. The task of finding these is incomplete for both directed and undirected graphs, and finding one of these for a graph with the minimum edge cost is the Traveling Salesman Problem. For 10 points, name this tour through a graph which starts and ends at the same vertex and contains every other vertex exactly once.
ANSWER: Hamiltonian cycle [prompt on Hamiltonian; do not accept "Hamiltonian path"]
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:58 pm

If we are discussing wonderful buzzes, I will give a shot out to Brendan Bryrne buzzing with "Empire of Namibia-Botswana?" on the "Kingdom of Kongo" tossup after it said "FTP, name this African empire that shares a name with two African countries". Well done, sir.

(Coincidentally, Kingdom of Kongo is one of those World History TUs at this tournament that just didn't seem to be all that canonical, and thus even top shelf players were left guessing)
Last edited by Skepticism and Animal Feed on Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by dtaylor4 » Sun Apr 26, 2009 10:58 pm

marnold wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Lemma wrote:The Ignatius J. Reilly tossup was hands down my favourite buzz. I haven't read that book since 7th grade, but he's not a character you forget very easily.
Dude, there were some good tossups today too!
This.

Also: most of the stats are up.

Prelims

Playoffs

Also: previous links that were posted will not work, due to a small change in the address.

These do not include the tiebreaker games, or the D2/UG/D1 finals. I have the scoresheets for those games, and will get them entered and the corresponding stats will be updated. Under normal circumstances, I would do that now, but I would like to not have my acceptance to the MS program reversed due to the GPA requirement. The packet name issues will also be taken care of when this happens.

Some personal notes (For cases involving specific individuals, I left names out, unless the offenders would like to justify their actions):

As a moderator, when you are told to pick up the pace, please do not bitch that tossups take 2 minutes to read and that they are 50 million lines long. Stop wasting your breath, and go start your next game.

Please do not protest a neg that is given on account of moderator discretion and does not affect the outcome of a game.

Password protection for packets is still an overrated idea that undoubtedly will cause problems.

When you print out directions to get somewhere you don't know how to get to, please make sure the directions take you all the way there, and not to a street you turn off of.

I'll probably think of more later, but consolidations are beckoning again.

If you are having trouble getting enough fully working buzzers, I hear high school quizbowl also involves buzzers.

Personally, I had a great time at this tournament. Met some new quizbowl people (both old and new), drank more Red Bull than is advisable, about went nuts due to the logistical failures, and (hopefully) nothing of note was stolen.

EDIT: words
Last edited by dtaylor4 on Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Kyle » Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:02 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:Except for that tossup about some rebellion of African slaves against the Abbasid caliphate, which seemed neither.
The Zanj?
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by jonpin » Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:48 pm

dtaylor4 wrote:Please do not protest (a neg that is given on account of moderator discretion and) anything that does not affect the outcome of a game.
Isn't this standard procedure, especially if PPG tiebreakers can't eliminate anyone?
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:05 am

QuizBowlRonin wrote:Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is WashU was never asked for a printer, nor was asked to run statistics, nor was asked to print schedules, either before hand or on an emergency basis. A printer was brought to the tournament room with no computer attached to it. Donald didn't show until later (now I know why), and he had the only computer that was able to use the printer, hence my suggestion for future reference. Also, normally most HP printers have drivers preloaded in Windows, but this particular printer did not.

Finally, since I'm getting slammed by accusations of having the wrong tone, you need to reread what I said without the bad assumption that I am attacking someone, especially Donald.
I guess I can't say for sure that the hosts of the tournament were, in fact, asked to run the tournament. In any event, I will withdraw any implication that you are attacking someone when you disagree with the assertion Susan made that Illinois did the tournament a favor by bringing a printer. Whatever. Whoever's fault it was, be it ACF for not telling the tournament hosts to run the tournament or the tournament hosts for not running the tournament, it shouldn't and it was terrible. (My perception is probably heightened because while we were told to start at 10:30 like everyone else, we were delayed further since our room had no working buzzers. The set was replaced, the new set did not work. Then we concluded that the room DID NOT HAVE WORKING ELECTRICITY and played slapbowl. Slapbowl! At a reputable tournament!)
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:49 am

Jeremy Gibbs Paradox wrote:The Red Bull, THAT had to be co-ordinated!
(12:47:42 AM) everyday847: acf nationals 2009: would you like some bread with your circuses
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:50 am

Something I was completely baffled by was that I handed Wash U a backpack with both a laptop and a fully functional set of 8 buzzers in it. After Saturday finished, I was approached by Sean about how he had a bag with my laptop, so I got it back and found my buzzer in there, which really confused me because I was told they would keep them overnight, so I can only assume they didn't even use mine in the first place. That's crazy given all that went on with the less than functional buzzers at this tournament. Don't take my tone too condescendingly here, but I think you all are really lucky that I finally got fed up with a 5-buzzer room on Sunday before round 2 and walked out to our car and got our out to set up, only to run into Eric Douglass and find out that some rooms had none at all, so I gave it to him which I think ended up solving the biggest problems.
Also, I'm confused at whether or not the reason the brackets were reprinted was really just because of McMaster's not showing up. I think the schedule of a 13-team round robin was still exactly what they used but with a bye written in place, so if that was really all the problem was there then why wasn't the obvious solution of saying "that game will be a bye" done? If that's really the case, then all I can say is wow, but it seems a far fetched enough that there just has to be some better reason for the holdup.
I thought the questions were fine based on my reading of the last few ACF Nationals sets, and from a new team in terms of the set I think Mizzou is interested in generally trying to improve at stuff like this in the future, since it keeps showing us all kinds of gaps in our knowledge, and I love having that stuff exposed as much as I hate hearing science bonuses we zero. I in particular appreciate what I think was Zeke's fine arts editing job on this set, even if I missed stuff and didn't play as well as I want to I liked a lot of the answer selection and the writing was very ideal.
Also, I think Illinois, if that is really where he is going, is going to have a nice future with Ike Jose there, it's really amazing that he won division 2 here. Class of 2008 novices, I guess the gauntlet has been thrown. Also, I have to thank Ike because now that a high schooler playing solo has won a minor college national title on ACF questions that is more fuel than I could possibly imagine to convince people in Missouri our quizbowl needs to change, and generally that ACF isn't impossible. Maybe this is just my sour grapes talking too, but it does seem to me that anyone who watched the final game though can understand what I mean when I say that the performance of most teams who weren't in the top bracket on this set really ended up just kind of devolving to luck based on whether you happen to have heard of 5 or 10 of the tossup answers in any given packet. I don't mean for this to be taken the wrong way because I love playing hard quizbowl but it kind of seems silly to award a title specifically for teams here which devolves into games that are so low scoring that it's almost all luck involved in winning. I know I know, it comes down to luck too in the top bracket, but I think games where 400+ points are converted are a lot more convincing that talent does play a huge role in determining the winner than games where 170 points are converted. Am I totally off base here or something?
Anyway, I personally am glad about this tournament being so close to us, and I do look forward to attending in the future. However, I do agree that ACF really needs to get something together to make sure this doesn't happen again. I was talking to someone else about how it was such a crappy thing that some teams last year didn't return because of the late direction, only to come to this year's event where I would think extra attention should be paid to fix that and find out it doesn't start until 10:45 in some rooms. I am scared because I love ACF and want to see nationals thrive, but I don't know if it can sustain another tournament like this in the next few years. I am curious to know what solutions will be worked towards for next year.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by dtaylor4 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:54 am

First off, thanks for the praise.

This paragraph unavoidably made confusing by thread split. —Mgmt.
Second, I assume it is standard practice for a tournament to have a printer for the stats person to use for printing stats, which are usually posted. I asked Matt if he was bringing his own, and after learning he would not, I asked Mike to bring his, as I've used it for god knows how many tournaments without problem. Mike agreed to do so, and I owe him thanks for that. The issue came from Mike and I arriving in different cars at different times, which I am partly to blame for (three alarms and three phone calls failed to wake me.) Given that this tournament was in two buildings, I refused to do this for Elliot. Hopefully we can direct discussion away from this.

Third, Jon, prelim ties were played off (as were all ties in record throughout the tournament, except for the Ike/VCU tie in record, which was discovered after it was found that I mis-entered a playoff game.) This procedure was made known in advance, please review the relevant tiebreaking procedure before making such unfounded comments. If someone wants to argue that I am being rude, so be it.

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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by wd4gdz » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:54 am

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Maybe this is just my sour grapes talking too, but it does seem to me that anyone who watched the final game though can understand what I mean when I say that the performance of most teams who weren't in the top bracket on this set really ended up just kind of devolving to luck based on whether you happen to have heard of 5 or 10 of the tossup answers in any given packet. I don't mean for this to be taken the wrong way because I love playing hard quizbowl but it kind of seems silly to award a title specifically for teams here which devolves into games that are so low scoring that it's almost all luck involved in winning. I know I know, it comes down to luck too in the top bracket, but I think games where 400+ points are converted are a lot more convincing that talent does play a huge role in determining the winner than games where 170 points are converted. Am I totally off base here or something?
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:00 am

It's not even that though, I'm aware of the fact that ACF Nationals is supposed to be hard so that the top bracket teams are really rewarded. It just seems like awarding titles for other things that aren't really catered towards top bracket teams like D2 get sillier for events like this.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:06 am

wd4gdz wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Maybe this is just my sour grapes talking too, but it does seem to me that anyone who watched the final game though can understand what I mean when I say that the performance of most teams who weren't in the top bracket on this set really ended up just kind of devolving to luck based on whether you happen to have heard of 5 or 10 of the tossup answers in any given packet. I don't mean for this to be taken the wrong way because I love playing hard quizbowl but it kind of seems silly to award a title specifically for teams here which devolves into games that are so low scoring that it's almost all luck involved in winning. I know I know, it comes down to luck too in the top bracket, but I think games where 400+ points are converted are a lot more convincing that talent does play a huge role in determining the winner than games where 170 points are converted. Am I totally off base here or something?
"questions got hard, people should know more"
Unless this is a comedy quote from a source I don't know, I don't really understand what the fuck you mean. Charlie is right on here; just as we didn't play Chicago v. Brown on MUT, since the loser would be whoever lost more buzzer races or maybe, like, which team had a 27 BC instead of a 28, we probably shouldn't claim that a D2 title decided this way has a whole lot of meaning.

This isn't really sour grapes from Dees, anyway, since it's plausible that Ike could beat Mizzou on easier questions, too, and since it's doesn't do much to trivialize what Ike accomplished (how many high schoolers, a few years ago, would have been able to beat college teams to regular difficulty questions, let alone ACF Nationals?). Whoever an easier set would bear out as the champion, it would probably be a more fairly determined one.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by wd4gdz » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:09 am

everyday847 wrote:
wd4gdz wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Maybe this is just my sour grapes talking too, but it does seem to me that anyone who watched the final game though can understand what I mean when I say that the performance of most teams who weren't in the top bracket on this set really ended up just kind of devolving to luck based on whether you happen to have heard of 5 or 10 of the tossup answers in any given packet. I don't mean for this to be taken the wrong way because I love playing hard quizbowl but it kind of seems silly to award a title specifically for teams here which devolves into games that are so low scoring that it's almost all luck involved in winning. I know I know, it comes down to luck too in the top bracket, but I think games where 400+ points are converted are a lot more convincing that talent does play a huge role in determining the winner than games where 170 points are converted. Am I totally off base here or something?
"questions got hard, people should know more"
Unless this is a comedy quote from a source I don't know,
That's exactly what it was, from the EIC, no less!
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:13 am

everyday847 wrote:
wd4gdz wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:stuff
"questions got hard, people should know more"
Unless this is a comedy quote from a source I don't know, I don't really understand what the fuck you mean. Charlie is right on here; just as we didn't play Chicago v. Brown on MUT, since the loser would be whoever lost more buzzer races or maybe, like, which team had a 27 BC instead of a 28, we probably shouldn't claim that a D2 title decided this way has a whole lot of meaning.

This isn't really sour grapes from Dees, anyway, since it's plausible that Ike could beat Mizzou on easier questions, too, and since it's doesn't do much to trivialize what Ike accomplished (how many high schoolers, a few years ago, would have been able to beat college teams to regular difficulty questions, let alone ACF Nationals?). Whoever an easier set would bear out as the champion, it would probably be a more fairly determined one.
So, obviously setting up a D2 title on an easier packet is not an option, are people seriously suggesting doing away with the title altogether? Andy and Charlie both make good points on the matter of trivialization.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by jonpin » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:14 am

dtaylor4 wrote:Third, Jon, prelim ties were played off (as were all ties in record throughout the tournament, except for the Ike/VCU tie in record, which was discovered after it was found that I mis-entered a playoff game.) This procedure was made known in advance, please review the relevant tiebreaking procedure before making such unfounded comments. If someone wants to argue that I am being rude, so be it.
I think you missed the point of what I was saying. If ties in the standings are played off (rather than using a paper tiebreaker), then there isn't any reason to hear protests on issues that do not affect the W/L of a game, correct? Hence
I, paraphrasing you, wrote:Please do not protest [...] anything that does not affect the outcome of a game.
would be standard operating procedure.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by BuzzerZen » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:17 am

I split out the crap about printers. This thread is going to be policed vigorously for remaining on topic; all purported hilarity and pointless digressions will be split into AHAN Jr. or the Forbidden Zone.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:20 am

I agree with Charlie that the difficulty of the question is something that should be considered in the scope of the non-top bracket teams at the tournament. Clearly the primary goal of the tournament should be to award the best team in the nation the national title. But does scratching the edges of the canon really do this more effectively than, say, Regionals level difficulty with longer tossups to encompass more clues? As the tournament naturally gets harder in absolute terms as the canon and circuit advances (for instance, lots of people on the chat have agreed that this tournament was harder in absolute terms than the notorious ACF Nationals 2005), I fear the tournament is perhaps leaving a large number of players behind. Certainly there are examples of individuals and teams who have adapted successfully to this--look at Ike Jose's incredible performance, for instance. However, I look at something like the circuit in the Northwest and wonder "how long will it take for these teams to get to a level where they would enjoy and get meaningful games* out of playing ACF Nationals or DI ICT?" Compared to the prospects of "how long will it take for these teams to get to a level where they would enjoy and get meaninful games out of playing ACF Regionals or DI SCT", I feel the answer is much greater.

I guess the overall point of my post is that I think there might be room for some sort of national championship on questions of an easier difficulty level. The majority of tournaments held throughout the year are at this level, and I think they do a pretty fine job of assessing who the best team in the tournament is. I don't necessarily buy the argument that in every case harder questions result in the "best" team winning. Is someone's in-depth knowledge of the most famous work of an author less legitimate than someone elses' shallow knowledge of the second most famous work of an author?

Also, to be clear, this isn't just an ACF problem. The DI ICT also is at a comparatively high difficulty level, somewhat offset by the availability of the DII ICT (which itself may not be at the ideal difficulty for the field). I also don't really want to advocate the abolition of this type of national tournament. I think there's room (although maybe not on the current schedule and budgets) for something like a "hard nationals" and a "less-hard nationals". The goal of the "less-hard nationals" would be to still crown a national champion who is the best on these levels of questions, while still placing the tournament at a difficulty level less intimidating for the bottom 2/3 of the field. While I guess I can see the argument that these teams don't belong at nationals, I also, for quizbowl's sake, would like to see the size of the ACF Nationals field expand from the mid-20's range it's been stuck at for the past few years.

*Meaningful games I would define based on factors like "what percentage of the questions do teams have a chance to answer"? The middle bracket, consisting of teams that are almost all top bracket teams in their regions, averaged missing more than 5 tossups per round and a bonus conversion of around 10 PPB. When you filter that down some more to account for teams that are more along the lines of middle of the pack in their respective regions, those games become even more dismal and prone to the luck of the draw factors that Charlies described.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by dtaylor4 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:22 am

jonpin wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote:Third, Jon, prelim ties were played off (as were all ties in record throughout the tournament, except for the Ike/VCU tie in record, which was discovered after it was found that I mis-entered a playoff game.) This procedure was made known in advance, please review the relevant tiebreaking procedure before making such unfounded comments. If someone wants to argue that I am being rude, so be it.
I think you missed the point of what I was saying. If ties in the standings are played off (rather than using a paper tiebreaker), then there isn't any reason to hear protests on issues that do not affect the W/L of a game, correct? Hence
I, paraphrasing you, wrote:Please do not protest [...] anything that does not affect the outcome of a game.
would be standard operating procedure.
OK, consolidations can wait another minute.

That's not what I said. I never said you shouldn't protest. I said you shouldn't protest something that is a matter of moderator discretion (in this case, determining whether or not the moderator was technically finished with a tossup.) Standard operating procedure should be to note the protest, and have the moderator bring it to the attention of those running the show if it affects the game. To reiterate, in order to get it through to you: the protest did not affect the game, and could not actually be protested. Also, please stop completely misconstruing what I say.

Also, please review how protests should work before TD'ing another tournament.

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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:24 am

are people seriously suggesting doing away with the title altogether?
I mean, to be honest I guess I am. I would have probably enjoyed the tournament more not worrying about whether we make the middle or lower brackets and beat other specific teams in order to stay in contention. Also, I mean, I'm not just saying this about games we lost, it felt like our second win in particular against UCSD really did come completely down to luck of the draw, and also our first win against Ike I feel fell into that category.
I don't know that I think there should be a "less hard ACF Nationals" though, because I do enjoy the chance to play a hard tournament, and I appreciate that these questions can do a good job of rewarding really deep teams. Maybe the solution would just be to leave division 2 to the ICT?
Last edited by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) on Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:34 am

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Maybe the solution would just be to leave division 2 to the ICT?
This. I support ACF's idea in principle that it's silly to have a separate field for division 2, since you go to nationals to play the best teams in the nation. But regrettably having the same field requires the same questions; you can't just write up special packets whenever d2 eligible teams happen to play each other.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:39 am

everyday847 wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Maybe the solution would just be to leave division 2 to the ICT?
This. I support ACF's idea in principle that it's silly to have a separate field for division 2, since you go to nationals to play the best teams in the nation. But regrettably having the same field requires the same questions; you can't just write up special packets whenever d2 eligible teams happen to play each other.
Well, my solution was more about the fact that I don't think that a national tournament necessarily needs to be at a difficulty level higher than ACF Regionals. There certainly should be at least one of them, but I think it would be interesting and perhaps good for the circuit in general if something like this were tried.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:17 am

Basically, only ACF Fall west started later than this tournament, by about 15 minutes (from those I've been to), and the numerous buzzer problems over the two days blew. The questions were for the most part absolutely great, but got hard enough near the end that middling teams had the most erratic and random games against each other ever.

Tossups I especially enjoyed include Cortazar, Akutagawa, the Nicholas Breakspear one in one of the tiebreakers, Saraswati, The Sound of the Mountain, and "Entropy"
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:28 am

Okay, Hannah, if you or anyone else can provide me with a better description of what the kinetic isotope effect is used for, I'd (non-sarcastically) love to hear it. I'll admit it may have been non-unique, but I don't think it was "space-wasting." Also, Eric (Mukherjee) pointed out a non-unique clue I added to the CD antigens question, so I want to apologize to anyone who may have negged with "lectins" off the "mannose-6-phosphate receptor" clue.

If anyone had any other issues with the bio and chem, please let me know. I did my best to ensure that the tossups were neither too long (when the packets are released, you will notice that the science questions are almost all 8 +/- 1 lines, whereas many others spill into 10+ lines) nor too hard, though that ultimately may not have been the case. Personally, I will disregard Dees' difficulty concerns as not applying to my categories since I believe he is equally likely to miss science tossups and zero science bonuses at both the nationals difficulty and "regular difficulty" levels; I will certainly take difficulty concerns about science more seriously from people who don't consistently complain all the way through science bonuses.

Not to beat the dead horse, but I agree that there should have been an "ACF Nationals Logistics Director" who was completely unaffiliated in any way with the editing of the tournament.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by aceofspades » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:36 am

Going back to content, I have a question-specific comment, which is about the graph theory tossup...
Fleischner's theorem states that the square of a two-connected graph has one of these, and Chvatal conjectured in 1973 that every t-tough graph has one of these for some integer t. Every graph with more than three vertices and a degree greater than half the number of vertices has one of these, a result known as Dirac's theorem. The task of finding these is incomplete for both directed and undirected graphs, and finding one of these for a graph with the minimum edge cost is the Traveling Salesman Problem. For 10 points, name this tour through a graph which starts and ends at the same vertex and contains every other vertex exactly once.
ANSWER: Hamiltonian cycle [prompt on Hamiltonian; do not accept "Hamiltonian path"]
...My issue being that I have no idea what saying that finding a Hamiltonian cycle is "an incomplete task" is supposed to mean. The internet did not reveal any such possible meanings. The main obvious thing related to this phrasing is the fact that finding Hamiltonian cycles is famously an NP-complete problem. Hence the best I can do is guess that NP-complete somehow got erroneously transformed into "incomplete"? Regardless, the tossup seems to have a factually incorrect or rather ambiguous clue. As a side note I guess, I might add that this was the editors' replacement for my original math tossup.

By the way, I did have a good time, so thanks everyone.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:38 am

cvdwightw wrote:Okay, Hannah, if you or anyone else can provide me with a better description of what the kinetic isotope effect is used for, I'd (non-sarcastically) love to hear it.
Its space-wasting the way you have it phrased. Instead of "may be used to..." say "it is used to determine the rate-limiting step of an enzyme-catalyzed reaction".
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:42 am

Eric just cross-posted with what I was going to say. I can't provide you with a better description, since my knowledge is extremely limited, and I apologize if my comment was a little upstart. (For the record, I really liked the CD tossup.) The Michelangelo line is a much stronger example of that kind of frustrating (non-)clue.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:00 am

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
cvdwightw wrote:Okay, Hannah, if you or anyone else can provide me with a better description of what the kinetic isotope effect is used for, I'd (non-sarcastically) love to hear it.
Its space-wasting the way you have it phrased. Instead of "may be used to..." say "it is used to determine the rate-limiting step of an enzyme-catalyzed reaction".
Ah, okay. The "may be" is the space-waster. Gotcha. I'll do my best to eliminate that in future questions.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Lapego1 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:04 am

I really enjoyed the bio/chem at this tournament. I think Dwight lived up to his word of making the bonuses at least 20able by people who know the stuff. I certainly don't think we 0'ed any over the course of the weekend. I'll also put myself down as a fan of some of the common link tossups on compounds--coming to mind are the hydrogen peroxide and HCl tossups, which were both accessible and pyramidal at the same time (which is always a good thing!). Also appreciated the not-oft tossed-up HPLC appearing in the set. The perturbation theory tossup seemed to mention Moller and Plassett early, but I'm not sure how long it went on after that. Also, I may be way off-base here, but I think the physics was not always accessible. Things like adiabatic demagnetization, though potentially of great importance, seem like they might belong more at an Experiment (quick packet search reveals this as an answer at only 2004 CO and Monstrosity 2, and clues in two other packets). I was glad to learn this stuff, though it seems better-placed at a post-nats difficulty level.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Apr 27, 2009 5:28 am

Jerry, I'm sorry you missed your flight and it's clear there were many flaws in the way this tournament was run. However, I honestly think your analysis of the source of those flaws is not quite correct. Allow me to point out a few things:

1) When all was said and done, the tournament, which I had announced last August would target an end time of 1:00 PM, actually completed the last question of the finals at 2:15 PM. That's not ideal, but it's not anything near tournaments like Minnesota Open's Saturday lineup this year (which had to be cut short because the building closed at 2 AM), ACF Nationals last year (which ended at 11 PM), or sundry other events who missed the mark by well more than an hour. I frankly think it's incredibly unwise to book a flight for 3:30 for a tournament that aspires to end around 1:00, and then be surprised or angry when you miss that flight.

2) We had prepared and copied the following schedule in advance for Saturday morning: http://web.archive.org/web/200502101941 ... ps/13.html. As you can see, it's nonsense; teams are playing in two places in the same round and so on. Someone noticed this as the schedule was first being handed out, luckily. For a tournament as important as ACF Nationals, it was a major error on my part to trust the schedule without rechecking it by hand. However, I hope you understand why I thought that "The College Quizbowl Schedule Database" might have schedules that could actually be used for college quizbowl. This assumption turned out to be erroneous, leading to all of the other problems. In addition to the confusion over McMaster, we then had to recreate the whole schedule so it actually made sense, and then (for reasons never really explained to me, which for all I know were perfectly good ones) it took far more than 30 minutes for someone to go print 40 copies of the schedule. That is why there was a delay on Saturday morning. This idea that we were all just standing around not starting because it was fun to make people wait, or whatever you think happened, is not realistic. I was also given to understand that half of Brown's team was planning to arrive at the tournament during what would have been Round 2 had we started on time; the delay must have proved immensely helpful to Brown's competitive chances, and thus for Jerry, specifically, to get angry over it seems weird.

3) The volume-of-buzzers situation was almost entirely my fault. While I am a little irked that many people either left their buzzers at home or brought broken buzzers to this tournament and claimed discounts for them, it is also true that Sean offered last week to procure buzzers from local high schools. I have never had a problem getting sufficient buzzers to show up to a tournament before so I assumed this would still be the case and told him not to bother. This was, in retrospect, a very stupid decision on my part, and had I not made it we would not have had the buzzer problem even considering the other issues that contributed to it.

4) With that said, the buzzer situation was aggravated by some poor coordination from the local staffers. I did in fact see Charlie's buzzers, and I asked the people who were handing out buzzers "hey, are those Charlie's buzzers?" to which I was told "no, that's just somebody's backpack." Between Saturday night and Sunday morning I reminded the buzzer controllers five distinct times to put the working systems in the playoff rooms, and exactly the opposite was done. Unless you expect me to personally set up every system and read every game, I don't know what more I could have contributed to trying to salvage the buzzer situation for Sunday.

5) In the week before the tournament I was also told, repeatedly, that all the rooms had unpassworded wireless, so it would be easy to e-mail packets out before each round. As it turned out, 1 of the 2 buildings we used had no wireless coverage at all, and in the other, passwords (which nobody seemed to have) were required. This forced us to go to plan B, encrypted packets, which led to the same problems it always does.

6) I have directed 30 tournaments, most of which (such as the February and April high school tournaments at VCU, see the threads on this board) were met with comments such as "the best tournament I have ever attended" and completed 11 or more rounds by 4:30 PM. The idea that I am an incompetent tournament director is objectively false. I apologize for my role in your missed flight and any frustrating aspects of your tournament experience, but I believe you are flailing about due to your anger over the real issues and hitting some of the wrong targets along with the legitimate ones here. We all have done things to both hurt and help the image of ACF, and the idea that this weekend's delays, which in the end amounted to finishing 75 minutes after the posted target end time, were a bigger problem than any of various question-related incidents or public meltdowns that people have been responsible for in the past, does not hold water to me.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Tower Monarch » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:10 am

Matt Weiner wrote:6) I have directed 30 tournaments, most of which (such as the February and April high school tournaments at VCU, see the threads on this board) were met with comments such as "the best tournament I have ever attended" and completed 11 or more rounds by 4:30 PM. The idea that I am an incompetent tournament director is objectively false. I apologize for my role in your missed flight and any frustrating aspects of your tournament experience, but I believe you are flailing about due to your anger over the real issues and hitting some of the wrong targets along with the legitimate ones here. We all have done things to both hurt and help the image of ACF, and the idea that this weekend's delays, which in the end amounted to finishing 75 minutes after the posted target end time, were a bigger problem than any of various question-related incidents or public meltdowns that people have been responsible for in the past, does not hold water to me.
As someone who did not attend, I can only speak to this one. Since Matt has directed the plurality of all tournaments I have ever played or read for or at all been associated with, I can't take seriously any sleight against his TD ability. Even at tournaments like GSACs and some UMD tournaments where he wasn't officially directing, he has been noticeably instrumental in organization tasks. Jerry, you really have to admit it does seem strange to require yourself to be at an airport within a couple hours of the expected end time when you expect (as your great performance warranted) to be in a finals situation. But since I again was not there, I could just assume everything was Matt's fault and I'd still say that he has a 95% success rate, so barring him from tournament direction (even from nationals tournaments only) would be ACF's mistake. If you don't want him as Editor-in-Chief, I still recommend him for TD.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:38 am

Please do not protest a neg that is given on account of moderator discretion and does not affect the outcome of a game.
Hey, when I buzzed both I and UCLA were amazed that I got negged because we both thought the tossup was done, and the moderator's reasoning was that I buzzed during the "au" of "Levi-Strauss" instead of the s sound, even though I'm pretty sure he read the whole thing before I answered. I've never seen a moderator do that before in my life. Also, the moderator told me after the game he was going to resolve the protest solely because he wanted my ppg to be right. Ray Luo can undoubtedly back me up that I never once insisted he resolve the protest once we won that game.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by pray for elves » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:51 am

aceofspades wrote:As a side note I guess, I might add that this was the editors' replacement for my original math tossup.
This was a CS replacement for a math tossup, as we wound up with a math bonus written to fix some distributional problems in your submitted packet (which can be discussed in private, as can the problems with your submitted tossup; email me if you want such information). I'm not going to say "it was late", etc. etc.; I should've caught that strange turn of phrase in the Hamiltonian cycles question. I'll talk to that question's author, who kindly freelance-submitted it.

Here is the fields tossup, which was above claimed by you by proxy to have a factual error. Please point it out so I can take note of it.
Packet by Illinois/Maryland wrote: The p-adics are useful examples of these in number theory, and a theorem of Weierstrass and Hilbert shows that any attempt to generalize this concept to triplets of numbers is equivalent to the complex numbers. These are called Pythagorean if they contain the square root of one plus the square of any element, and perfect if all finite extensions are separable. The main theorem of Galois theory relates certain subsets of Galois extensions of these to the subgroups of the Galois group. The characteristic of one of these is the number of times you must add one to itself to get zero and must always be a prime, and a finite one of these must have order equal to a power of some prime. For 10 points, name this algebraic structure, examples of which include the reals and rationals but not the integers, defined as a set with two binary operators in which addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division are all well-defined and the distributive law is satisfied.

ANSWER: field
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by BuzzerZen » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:52 am

Yeah, my original file for the Hamiltonian cycle tossup has "incomplete" where I clearly meant to type "NP-complete." Kind of inexcusable for me to get that wrong when NP-completeness is what I'm talking about in class this week.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by pray for elves » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:59 am

BuzzerZen wrote:Yeah, my original file for the Hamiltonian cycle tossup has "incomplete" where I clearly meant to type "NP-complete." Kind of inexcusable for me to get that wrong when NP-completeness is what I'm talking about in class this week.
And likewise inexcusable for me to miss this upon reading it.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by cdcarter » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:47 am

dtaylor4 wrote:OK, consolidations can wait another minute.

That's not what I said. I never said you shouldn't protest. I said you shouldn't protest something that is a matter of moderator discretion (in this case, determining whether or not the moderator was technically finished with a tossup.) Standard operating procedure should be to note the protest, and have the moderator bring it to the attention of those running the show if it affects the game. To reiterate, in order to get it through to you: the protest did not affect the game, and could not actually be protested. Also, please stop completely misconstruing what I say.

Also, please review how protests should work before TD'ing another tournament.
Whoa dude, calm down. He said that protesting when it wouldn't affect the outcome of the game is stupid. This is what you are saying, but yours is adding one more little bit. You two are agreeing. Biting heads can stop.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:54 am

BuzzerZen wrote:Yeah, my original file for the Hamiltonian cycle tossup has "incomplete" where I clearly meant to type "NP-complete." Kind of inexcusable for me to get that wrong when NP-completeness is what I'm talking about in class this week.
Now that I think about it some more, I did catch this when I was editing this question and removed that clue, but unfortunately the edited version of the tossups looks like it didn't make it into the set.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by dschafer » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:09 am

Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:
Packet by Illinois/Maryland wrote: The p-adics are useful examples of these in number theory, and a theorem of Weierstrass and Hilbert shows that any attempt to generalize this concept to triplets of numbers is equivalent to the complex numbers. These are called Pythagorean if they contain the square root of one plus the square of any element, and perfect if all finite extensions are separable. The main theorem of Galois theory relates certain subsets of Galois extensions of these to the subgroups of the Galois group. The characteristic of one of these is the number of times you must add one to itself to get zero and must always be a prime, and a finite one of these must have order equal to a power of some prime. For 10 points, name this algebraic structure, examples of which include the reals and rationals but not the integers, defined as a set with two binary operators in which addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division are all well-defined and the distributive law is satisfied.

ANSWER: field
"The characteristic of one of these is the number of times you must add one to itself to get zero and must always be a prime, and a finite one of these must have order equal to a power of some prime."

Not really a factual error, but of the three uses of "one" in this sentence, the first and third refer to fields, while the second refers to the multiplicative identity element. When I read this the first time, I thought all three referred to fields, which made it sound like you were adding a field to itself.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:12 pm

Hey, i just woke up.

Logistics aside,I liked this tournament. In a way, it was kinda cool for me seeing how I could track my progress to the beginning of the year when I wouldn't even have heard of some of the stuff I could buzz on and identify now.

I had a few dumb negs: "Mutiny on the Bounty" for "Orinoco" (a reflex buzz on Byam or whatever), "Prison Diaries" for "Prison Notebooks," were probably my favorite.

Thanks for all the Red Bull. I drank one while playing two games (Harvard and UCSD), and I think I played better in both games.

I tried to be positive and friendly during both days but lack of sleep caught up to me at times, so apologies to anyone if I did not.

Favorite Moments

*Watching in horror as Ted buzzed in and said Paul Bowles, a dude whom I had just read a long and boring book about. Luckily, Ted was wrong, else I would have gone into a Red Bull-fueled RAAAAGE.

*Getting one of those "That's RIGHT, Dude" quotes from Zeke after identifying "Magic: The Gathering."

*Things I Completely Frauded (I mean, COMPLETELY): "Shoemakers Holiday" (I have never really heard of this, but it said something about a special day for cobblers so I made up a title) and "Germanicus" (I vaguely remember hearing about this dude, but the tossup mentioned something about the "Rhine," and I was like Germany has the Rhine and "Germanicus" sounds like a good Roman name).

*Discovering Bea Arthur was dead after answering a tossup on her (I guess that's not really a good thing).

*Using knowledge of that kickass "Alas, Poor ____" sketch on MST3K to get the tossup on Hamlet.

When the set comes up, I will talk more about questions, I suppose. PERHAPS EVEN IN THE CORRECT THREAD.
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Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:23 pm

To mention a couple of issues that apparently came up in online discussion after I was asleep:

1) Yeah, I know that the printer-specific commentary wasn't helpful. But it's a symptom of a larger problem, or else it wouldn't have occurred that no one asked Gordon to use his or whatever; there weren't backup plans already there... whatever. I don't care about printer-specific issues or the size in bytes of the drivers; I care about the fact that this tournament had been planned, in principle, by both ACF and wustl ever since wustl's bid was accepted, and the planning didn't show. That's a problem, either on ACF's end or on wustl's.

2) The idea of an "easy questions national championship" was ridiculed by Matt, and rightly so: it's not suitable for most teams. But it's silly to point at teams vying for a title that you have scheduled games around (the DII title) and say "if you want these games to have fair results, i hope you know more things than I empirically know that you know." Because if the games have close-to-random results, as I believe they do, they might as well never have been played. My argument suggesting that easier questions make for a more valid "national championship" among a category that is predictably of a certain skill level is not an argument for an easy questions national championship; rather, it's an illustration that a DII championship is inviable since it's only viable on easier questions than ACF Nationals.
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